Labour History News
Exhibiting Industry. Mass Culture and Visual Culture at Industrial Exhibitions in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Claire-Lise DebluŽ / Anne-Katrin Weber (Department of History and Aesthetics of Cinema, University of Lausanne), Lausanne
01.06.2012, University of Lausanne
For the past twenty years, the historiography of national exhibitions and World's Fairs has experienced a growing interest among scholars from various disciplines, leading to a new field called exhibition studies.
As a distinctly multidisciplinary research area exhibition studies embraces methodologies borrowed from art history and architecture, cultural history and media studies, as well as gender and post-colonial and anthropological studies. The role of exhibitions in the creation of national identities and in the assertion of social and cultural differences (race, gender, class), their importance for the consolidation of nation-states or for the organization of modern capitalist economy has been emphasized repeatedly.
Unlike World's Fairs and national exhibitions, industrial exhibitions organized primarily around commercial activities remain rarely studied.
Usually scheduled periodically, they are held both in the provinces and in urban centers, and are dedicated to one or more industrial sectors.
Addressing identical issues as the "major" exhibitions in terms of representation and discourse, they reflect a dense network of politically, economically and culturally significant mass events.
Similarly to department stores or advertising, industrial exhibitions contribute furthermore to the spectacularization and mediatization of industrial goods and participate in the "invention of the (female) consumer".
This one-day conference aims at placing industrial exhibitions in the context of an emerging visual and media culture specific to the mass and consumption culture that appeared in Europe and the United States at the turn of the century. It will pay particular attention to the processes of circulation, negotiation, and appropriation among the various events, which invite us to put them in a transnational and multidisciplinary perspective. Beyond the paradigmatic case of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the shows in its wake, the study of "exhibiting industries" opens new fields of research for a visual history of industrial culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. This conference intends to discuss several of its strands.
Among the topics for possible consideration at this conference are:
- Industrial exhibitions and World's Fairs: circulations, negotiations and appropriations
- Cultures of consumption and industrial exhibitions
- Means of production and representation: displays of industrial processes
- Mass media and industrial promotion at exhibitions
- Publicizing the exhibitions: magazines, newspapers, radio, cinema, and exhibitions
- Production processes, representation, and reception: from the visitor to the consumer
- Industrial exhibitions and gender: the invention of the female consumer
Please submit a proposal in French or English including a 300-word paper abstract and a short biography to exhibitingindustry [at] gmail.com by Monday 9th April 2012.
The presentations will be given in French and English.
The conference is organized by Claire-Lise DebluŽ and Anne-Katrin Weber, Department of History and Aesthetics of Cinema, University of Lausanne; and sponsored by the Center of History of Culture: Literature, Arts and Society, University of Lausanne (UNIL).
Email: exhibitingindustry [at] gmail.com
[Cross-posted, with thanks, from H-Soz-u-Kult]